Nearly 44,500 businesses in NI benefitted from over £2bn of funding under two biggest Coronavirus loan schemes, as final lending figures revealed by the British Business Bank

New data published recently by the British Business Bank shows that businesses across Northern Ireland received over £2billion in funding under the government’s two largest Covid-19 loan schemes, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

The schemes provided financial support to businesses across the UK impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, closing for applicants at the end of March 2021.

Over 42,000 loans worth nearly £1.3bn have been provided across Northern Ireland under the Bounce Bank Loan Scheme, which provided a six-year term loan from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover, with a limit of £50,000.

Over 2,400 loans worth nearly £0.8bn have been provided across Northern Ireland under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which provided Business loans, overdrafts, invoice finance asset finance of up to £5m to businesses with a turnover less than £45m.

Total funding from the schemes provided to nearly 44,500 businesses represents 3% of the UK total, broadly in line with the relative size of Northern Ireland’s business population (2%).

Mark Sterritt, UK Network Director, Northern Ireland at British Business Bank, said: “The Covid-19 loan schemes have been an important part of the government’s response to the pandemic, providing businesses with much-needed breathing space and reducing cash- flow concerns for many. We’re pleased to see evidence that they have helped smaller businesses right across Northern Ireland and look forward to helping more businesses to prosper and grow as we look towards economic recovery.”

Although tyre retailers Kerr’s Tyres, with centres in Antrim, Belfast and Coleraine, continued to service hauliers and delivery companies throughout the disruption caused by Covid-19, it lacked the working capital to sustain itself for any real length of time.

Under such financial pressure, it applied for a CBILS loan for support.

Norman Kerr, managing director of Kerr’s Tyres, continued: “Before coronavirus, we’d put all our cash reserves towards building a new HQ.

“Once the outbreak hit, not getting that financial support from CBILS means our cashflow would’ve dried up and there’s a possibility we’d have had to close.”

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